Red River Valley

Red River Valley sheet music, with a new arrangement with a simplified left hand: your students will love this Western-style song.  FOUR levels of difficulty, from beginner piano to using parallel sixths in the right hand. 

I really like this sweet version by Gordon Payne... it makes me think of old Westerns:


Here's the newest arrangement, only in the key of F.  Instead of the "loping" sound of a swinging bass left hand, it uses solid chords that swing:

Red River Valley for intermediate piano, with changing left hand chords

Please scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs.

I am calling this an easy arrangement, but this is NOT inherently an easy melody, due to the necessity to move the hand a couple times.  But if a student likes the song, they will work at it!

The easiest arrangement, for Middle C readers:

Easy piano music version of Red River Valley, with both hands sharing the melody, set at Middle C position

The chord symbols are for a potential duet partner.

Notice that I have given the Middle C note to the left hand sometimes, but usually to the right hand.  

My bet is that your students will play the note with their right hand no matter what!  

However, with beginner piano music, I like the continuity of playing Middle C with whichever hand was just involved in the previous notes, if there are enough fingers to share Middle C.

Now below is melody and accompaniment, with a Western-sounding left hand pattern:

Red River Valley piano sheet music, for intermediate piano. This is a full-sounding two-handed arrangement of this Western-style song, with broken chords in the left hand.

I always associate that left hand pattern with a horse walking along.

These arrangements are based on one I remember playing from a John Schaum book as a child; "The Cowboy Book".

I loved that book!  And this cowboy song was my favorite to play.  ("Streets of Laredo," with the sad tale of the young cowboy who knew he must die, was a close second.)

Be aware that there are many different versions of the lyrics. 

I was hoping not to use any copyrighted versions, so there are only two verses in my arrangements.  Additional lyrics to this song are very easy to find.

In order to begin this piano song with confidence, it will help if your student  understands chords, so that they will recognize the left hand patterns.  

Except for the G7 chord in measure 12, every left hand chord has the same shape and fingering.

Below is the version of the melody that I loved as a child.  Who can say which one is the "right" one?  I have noticed that some performers even mix the two melodies, incorporating them both into their arrangements.

Red River Valley piano sheet music, alternate melody. This is a very sweet tune. Includes the broken chord left hand pattern.

Okay, now here are the BEAUTIFUL versions, but requiring much more skill (or dogged determination!)  

These arrangements use parallel 6ths and a few 3rds, and they are so satisfying for young piano players.  Just not easy!

Right hand chord inversions with Red River Valley melody

Now, my very favorite version (but the hardest, I think).  It is MOSTLY identical to the previous version, above.

Fancier melody of Red River Valley with more chord changes and right hand chord inversions, free sheet music




The links to the piano arrangements:


Download Red River Valley with solid-chords left hand


Download the same arrangement, with a few "helper notes" (not shown)


Download Red River Valley easy piano music for beginners, in Middle C position with shared-hands melody


Download Red River Valley, easiest two-handed version (with moving left hand)


Download cowboy song with alternate melody (my favorite)


Download the plain melody of this song with chord tones and parallel sixths in Right Hand


Download harder, alternate melody with chord tones in melody





The Sons of the Pioneers, with an old-fashioned sound, sing a melody that starts out like the alternate melody:








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A perfect read aloud storybook
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Comments

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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.